The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation has announced the recipients of their 2021 Idea Awards for Theatre; three grants awarded to adventurous new voices in playwriting and musical theatre, as well the visionary playwrights who have inspired and blazed trails before them.
The three 2021 Tooth of Time Distinguished Career Awards will be presented to Jessica Hagedorn (Dog Eaters, Felix Starro), Cherríe Moraga (The Hungry Woman, Heroes and Saints), and OyamO (I Am a Man, The Resurrection of Lady Lester). Honoring accomplished playwrights who have created significant, idea-driven works throughout their career, the Tooth of Time Distinguished Career Award is given with a $20,000 prize for each recipient.
Agyeiwaa Asante and Haruna Lee are the recipients of this year’s Ollie New Play Award. The 2021 Vivace Musical Theatre Awards will be awarded to Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Bella: An American Tall Tale), the musical writing team Jay Adana and Zeniba Now, and Troy Anthony. Recognizing original work with ambitious theatrical ideas, both awards are bestowed with a $30,000 prize.
Each of the five artists will also receive a unique hand-carved marble statuette.
The 2021 Idea Awards for Theatre will be presented in a virtual ceremony streaming online at The Idea Awards YouTube Channel beginning Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 6PM EST.
The free, virtual presentation ceremony will feature the winners in conversation with industry leaders of their choice, including Obie winning director Michael Greif, three-time Tony and Grammy nominated actor David Alan Grier, and Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Keith Glover. There will also be songs from all three Vivace Award winners, and Tony nominee Daniel J. Watts (Hamilton, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical) will host.
“The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation has created the ‘Idea Awards for Theatre’ to encourage expansive, idea-driven artworks with inherently theatrical ways of illuminating big ideas and concepts,” says Bruce Ostler, V.P. and Board Member of The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation. “This year, to address both the financial need throughout the theatre community, as well as the need for big, resonant stories, we are awarding 9 artists across our three categories: new plays, new musicals, and distinguished career. We hope these 9 writers, all of whom are diverse in form and in substance, will carry the torch back into the theatre and show us new ways of imagining.”
“Jessica Hagedorn, Cherríe Moraga, and OyamO are writers who look, reach, see, and transform,” says Emily Morse, Artistic Director of New Dramatists and Advisory Board member, The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation. “They have built their inspiring literary legacies by giving voice to, and shedding light on the complex lives of the people around them who do not necessarily see themselves reflected back to them from the stage or the page. They build community through their work as artists and educators, and each in their own passionate and glorious way have blazed paths for others to travel. Because they see, they invite us to also see. For their vision, humanity, and their tenacity and commitment to story-telling at its finest, and to support them as they continue their work, we honor them with Tooth of Time Awards.”
“The thrilling artistry and piercing perspectives of Haruna Lee and Agyeiwaa Asante show us how the theatre canon can grow,” says Natasha Sinha, Associate Artistic Director at Playwrights Horizons and Advisory Board member, The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation. “And as we look toward the next healing, incisive, and joyful era of musical storytelling, we uplift theatre luminary Kirsten Childs, as well as rising writers Troy Anthony, Jay Adana, and Zeniba Now. We’re thrilled to champion all six of these visionary artists as they create powerful new theatre that will move us forward.”
For more information, visit www.BretnPaulFoundation.org.